Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why isn't anyone blogging?

OK, I know. I've not exactly been the poster child of blogger profligacy.

But I dunno, things aren't very exciting. I entered all my final grades today, so that's done. Then I wrapped presents at the homeless shelter for two hours. Might I add that I had a blast? I didn't really talk to anyone, just totally focused on picking out and wrapping the presents. The only bad part was that all the presents for girls were HYPER pink, and I couldn't bear to give anyone a Barbie or Barbieclone. This might prompt me to buy some cool books or something to donate next year--I mean, not all young females are in love with make-up and the prospect of giant boobs.

Leaving on Friday for Northern City, followed a few days later by The Great Drive East.

The cats are really snuggly lately. You can't sit down without a Priss creeping into your lap.

We had four parties at our house last week--two final seminar parties (TM's seminar met right before mine, so there was some awkward overlap where my students had to stand around the kitchen with me while I made coffee), a party for the Philosophy and Religion majors, and then a party for our friends and ALL THEIR MILLION KIDS on Sunday night. Good lord. I didn't actually expect all the small noisy people to show up, but there they were. There was a frenzy of coloring (and, apparently, almond-spitting) in the upstairs guest room/attic, then everyone was gone. It was a fun party, though.

Erm...anything else? I don't think so. See? I told you I had nothing much to say.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hold on a sec.

OK, so one of the arguments that's often trotted out when debating the merits of pumping money into athletics (at a very low-budget, D3, not-at-all-athletically-accomplished college), excusing students who are struggling with their courses from classes to play sports, and admitting patently unprepared students to the college so that they can play football for a year before dropping out.... Um, let me start over. One of the arguments that's often trotted out when debating the merits of the three above-cited things is that college sports brings in money. Alumni like to come back for Homecoming, and having a successful football (or, I suppose, baseball or soccer or softball) team is likely to get them to chip in a few bucks.

Setting aside for the moment that, at Field, this clearly does not work (our alums love the College but our alumni giving is in the neighborhood of 15%), what usually happens when this argument is raised is that we then begin discussing whether that works given the poverty of our teams, how much alumni actually give, whether we're abiding by the rules of D3 recruiting, etc.

But tonight it occurred to me that this rationale is patently unethical.

If we're talking about the weak students here, and not the ones who can successfully balance academics and athletics--and we are talking about them, because this is my blog--then what we're saying is that it's OK to sucker them into coming to a school for which they are not prepared, getting them to shell out a semester's or a year's worth of tuition, and then depriving them of sufficient academic support by requiring them to attend a battery of practices, weight-training sessions, and games at the (occasional) expense of class attendance and (frequent) expense of study time, all in the service of fundraising.


In what way is this not exploitation?